Is 30 hours enough?

By | Category: Travel news

That is the length of warning that the British government gave that it was insisting that all people returning from Aruba, France, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands and the Turks & Caicos islands would have to go into 14 quarantine after those thirty hours had expired.

Paris will be quieter with fewer British visitors. Image – C Derriman

That meant people had to be back in the UK by 4am on Saturday morning.

After the moans when there was only five hours warning that those returning from Spain would face quarantine, the fact that thirty hours’ notice was given this time could be considered generous but many travellers won’t see it that way particularly given that services using the Channel tunnel were already very busy before a dash to return started.

The government argument is that when there is sufficient evidence to remove a destination from the green list it should be done speedily as public health has a greater priority than people’s holidays and travel.

The opposing view is that such quick decision-making – by government standards – causes disruption that could be alleviated by providing more notice.

Probably some 400,000- 600,000 people will be affected, depending on who you listen to, and those in the Caribbean have little chance of beating the deadline. Most in France, Monaco and the Netherlands will also be unlucky but they cannot claim that they haven’t been fore-warned for the decision about France has been mentioned all week. Some were surprised that such a decision wasn’t announced last Friday.

After the announcement by the British government the French government talked about reciprocal measures but nothing was said officially by the time of writing.  But it was announced that Paris and the area around Marseilles, Bouches-du-Rhone, would be categorised as red areas and subject to more stringent measures than other places suggesting that it recognised there was a growing problem in France.

This decision will hit both countries. France – along with Spain – are the top destinations by a long way for British travellers. French visitors are the second biggest group to the UK.

But the Dutch and Maltese are also important destinations for Britons so this decision in the middle of the peak month for holidays must be weighing heavily on the minds of those still planning to travel. Will they stay at home or travel anyway abroad knowing that any destination that sees a spike could be effectively mean 14 days of quarantine on returning home?

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